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Justice News

Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
Southern District of Illinois

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Jackson County Man Pleads Guilty To Failure To Register As A Sex Offender

On May 15, 2014, Willie Joe Strayhorn, a/k/a “Jo Jo,” 47, of Murphysboro, pled guilty to a one-count indictment charging Failure to Register as a Sex Offender, the United States Attorney for the Southern District of Illinois, Stephen R. Wigginton, announced today.

The offense occurred between November 1, 2010, and September 4, 2013, in Jackson County. Evidence at the plea hearing established that Strayhorn was required to register as a sex offender under both Illinois law and the Sex Offender Registration and Notification Act (SORNA), because of a 1993 conviction for Aggravated Criminal Sexual Abuse in Jackson County Circuit Court. In July 2011, members of the United States Marshals Service Task Force found Strayhorn hiding in a closet in a Dyersburg, Tennessee, residence. Strayhorn had not registered in Illinois since August 2010 and never registered in Tennessee.

The offense carries a penalty of up to 10 years’ imprisonment, to be followed by a term of supervised release from 5 years to life, and a fine of $250,000. Strayhorn is currently being held without bond pending his September 12, 2014, sentencing hearing.

This case was brought as part of Project Safe Childhood, a nationwide initiative to combat the growing epidemic of child sexual exploitation and abuse launched in May 2006 by the Department of Justice. Led by United States Attorneys’ Offices and the Criminal Division’s Child Exploitation and Obscenity Section (CEOS), Project Safe Childhood marshals federal, state and local resources to better locate, apprehend and prosecute individuals who sexually exploit children, and to identify and rescue victims. For more information about Project Safe Childhood, please visit For more information about internet safety education, please visit and click on the tab “resources.”

The case was investigated by the United States Marshals Service and the Murphysboro Police Department. The case is assigned to Assistant United States Attorney Amanda A. Robertson for prosecution.

Updated February 19, 2015